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Change your blog into a website: create a homepage

front door to your website's homepage

© Ken Dodds, Little house, via Flickr

Everybody knows that blogs are where you find posts to read.

So it stands to reason that visitors expect to find these posts listed immediately upon entering your blog, ready and waiting to be read.

And this is what the default blog setup gives you when you first create your blog. Your posts on presented on your blog's first page.

Can a blog be a website?

The beauty of WordPress as a blogging medium is that it can also be used to create websites.

Essentially a modern, interactive, CMS (content management system, or self-editable) website made via WordPress is a blog with extra pages. Like this one.

If you were to enter Beginner Bloggers via its ordinary URL (web address), you would arrive at its homepage. Not the blog listings page. That is accessible via the link 'Blog' in the navigation links or tabs at the top right.

Showing blog link in navigation

And you will also notice on closer inspection that there is a link or tab called 'Home', in purple because it is active, on that navigation bar.

How do I get that home link?

You need to create a homepage, and another page to contain your posts.

This means creating pages rather than posts. The procedure is the same for both WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.org websites, but I shall show you on my WordPress.com blog.

Go to 'My Sites' at the top left corner and select 'WP Admin' from the drop down menu:

My Sites drop down menu

In WordPress.org blogs, if you are already logged in, you can access the Dashboard via the drop down menu activated from your blog's name in the top right corner:

Getting to the Dashboard

Once in the Dashboard, locate 'Pages' > 'Add New' from the left sidebar:

Add a new page

And you will see something very similar to when you write your posts, except that it says 'Add New Page' at the top rather than 'Post':

Create a page called Home

Now type in what you want to call your homepage, eg 'Home', in the title field.

If you're feeling adventurous, or are ultra organised and have your homepage content ready, you can add this or something suitable into the editing main field underneath.

Publish your new 'Home' page via the Publish menu in the top right corner:

Publish button

And see the confirmation once it is done:

Page published acknowledgement

Now click on the 'Add New' button next to 'Edit Page' so you can create the page which will contain your blog posts. Simply repeat the process again:

Creating post listing page

This time you name your page 'Blog' or 'News' or 'Articles' or whatever you want to call the page that contains your blog posts, but you don't write anything in the editing field.

Publish it as before.

Now comes the magical bit!

Go to the 'Settings' link in the left sidebar and from the drop down menu select 'Reading':

Select Settings Reading

And you will see that your blog is set up to show your posts on the front page:

Showing front page contains posts

If you select the second option 'A static page (select below)':

Activate static pages option

You will see that the drop down menus have been activated.

Select the pages you created in each drop down menu that are relevant to its criteria:

Select Home for front page Select Blog for posts page

This is what it should look like when you've finished:

Static pages selected

Don't forget to go to the bottom of the page to click on the 'Save Changes' button:

Save changes button

And you will get confirmation that everything is OK at the top of the page:

Settings saved

Now check out your new homepage

Go to 'My Sites' at the top left and select 'View Site' from the drop down menu:

View Site link in dashboard sidebar

Or with a WordPress.org website, find the name of your blog at the top left and click 'View Site' from the drop down menu:

View Site on a self-hosted blog

And now you will see your new homepage:

New homepage

As you can see, the 'Home' tab is highlighted and the 'Blog' tab is next to it. This is where you can find your posts now, safely stored in their new blog listing page:

New blog listings page

There you are, that is how you create a homepage for your blog, so you can turn it into a website.

Now, if you're observant like me, you will have noticed that the pages in the navigation bar are listed in alphabetical order.

Here's a How-To post that explains how to regulate which order your navigation tabs are arranged.

Also, start thinking about what you want to write in your new homepage that will make your visitors understand where they are, what they want to do, and how they can do it!

You can always read this post to get some ideas from what I think should go into a homepage.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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